Rally comes up short in 4-3 loss to Red Sox (updated)

Rally comes up short in 4-3 loss to Red Sox (updated)

Unlike airline points, runs don’t carry over.

If they did, the Orioles could’ve used a few Saturday. After exploding for 15 runs in a series opening win Friday, the O’s bats went quiet in a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in front of 34,939 on Saturday.

As has too often been the case recently, the offense waited too long to get going, failing to score off of Michael Wacha in the starter’s 5 ⅔ innings of work for Boston. A seventh-inning rally netted the Orioles just two runs, not enough to overcome what was then a 3-0 deficit.

"We had a tough time getting a rally going against (Wacha)," said manager Brandon Hyde after the game. "Good to see us make a run late like usual but just came up a run short today."

Baserunners were hard to come by for the Orioles, who collected just one walk and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

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Hyde's resilient group is becoming harder to sink

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Leaning against the dugout wall, Brandon Hyde chomped his pink bubblegum, one hand on his hip, his eyes filled with the kind of dissatisfaction Orioles fans were used to seeing from their manager in each of his previous three seasons.

Hyde’s bullpen was floundering. His defense was breaking down. A six-run lead was slipping away like air from a balloon.

But this wasn’t like old times.

After a nightmarish top of the fifth inning for the Orioles, in which two errors were committed and five runs were scored, the team settled down, refocused and followed up with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. 

There would be no collapse. The O’s would cruise through the final four innings of Friday’s 15-10 win over the Red Sox.

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Bullpen unravels, offense stagnates in 6-1 loss to Blue Jays (updated)

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TORONTO - Brandon Hyde surely didn’t want to make two treks to the mound in the seventh inning. But he had little choice.

Relievers Joey Krehbiel and Cionel Pérez had allowed five consecutive batters to reach base, and the game that had seemed winnable moments ago was slipping away at a frightening pace.

After starter Austin Voth befuddled the Blue Jays over six shutout innings, the Orioles bullpen crumbled in a 6-1 loss in the series finale Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.

"You win two out of three, it’s tough to be disappointed," said Hyde of the three-game series. "You lose the third one after winning the first two, that’s when it’s disappointing. You split the first two and win the third, everyone’s celebrating. Happy with the series win, unhappy we couldn’t finish it off today."

Orioles relievers had combined to throw 6 ⅓ scoreless innings through the first two games of the series. But the group came crashing back down to earth in a disastrous seventh inning that saw three pitchers used, eight Blue Jays reach base and six runs come across the plate.

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O's young starters learning prudence when attacking opposing lineups

O's young starters learning prudence when attacking opposing lineups

TORONTO - The most important individual result from Dean Kremer’s stellar start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday wasn’t one of his six strikeouts. Nor was it a bases-loaded double play ball off the bat of Matt Chapman in the third inning.

It was the plate appearance before that, a five-pitch walk to Alejandro Kirk that set up that inning-ending double play. It was the only free pass issued by Kremer all night.

It showed the young righty knew who to attack and who to avoid, a recent point of emphasis from manager Brandon Hyde. 

“A handful of starts ago (Hyde) brought a couple of us starters into the office (to say), ‘Ok, where do we go from here now?’” said Kremer after tossing seven innings of two-run ball last night. “(It’s) another stepping stone in our development. We had a meeting about that, kind of realizing situation and who’s at the plate, where you can attack the lineup you’re facing.”

With the Orioles trailing by two runs, a base empty and one out, Kremer pitched around Kirk, avoiding the All-Star catcher in favor of Chapman, who hasn’t hit righties as well this season and is batting just .152 in the month of August.

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Unflappable Orioles come back to beat Blue Jays 4-2 (updated)

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TORONTO - Alek Manoah was feeling himself.

The imposing righty skipped off the mound, his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame floating over the infield grass. He had just picked up his seventh strikeout by getting Ramón Urías swinging on a fastball up and in, capping off his fourth consecutive shutout inning to open the game.

Things were going well.

By the end of his evening, Manoah was plodding slowly toward the third base dugout, having surrendered a two-run lead, while still responsible for the two runners on base in a brutal sixth inning.

Things had gone poorly.

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McKenna continues to contribute as fourth outfielder, "ultimate teammate"

McKenna continues to contribute as fourth outfielder, "ultimate teammate"

TORONTO - Speed. Positional versatility. Microwavable offense. These are the qualities teams usually seek in a fourth outfielder.

Ryan McKenna certainly checks all those boxes. But what has made the 25-year-old such a crucial component of an Orioles team that sits just 1 ½ games out of a wild card spot has been the outfielder’s eagerness to deliver anytime, anywhere.

“When he’s not in the lineup, he’s always got his helmet ready, he’s got his glove ready, he understands his role when he’s not in there, and he’s following along,” said manager Brandon Hyde before Tuesday’s game. “He’s supporting the whole time he’s in the dugout.

“You pull for guys like that. You pull for ultimate teammates like that.”

McKenna’s contributions have become especially important as everyday outfielder Austin Hays has struggled. Hays is out of the lineup Tuesday against the Blue Jays, while McKenna, who collected the first three-hit game of his career last night, gets the start in right field.

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Orioles leave Blue Jays in the dust with 7-3 win (updated)

Orioles leave Blue Jays in the dust with 7-3 win (updated)

TORONTO - It was an All-Star play by an All-Star shortstop.

With two runners on and the infield in, Bo Bichette, with his toes on the infield grass, backhanded a 94-mph one-hopper. He then fired an off-balance throw to catcher Danny Jansen, who barely had to move his glove to apply the tag on the runner coming home. The entire whirlwind exchange took about two seconds.

It didn’t matter. Jorge Mateo scored anyway. Bichette was helpless to stop it.

It was the kind of game-tilting speed that the Orioles have used to their advantage all season, and they broke it out again in a 7-3 win over the Blue Jays.

“We run on contact a lot, and we do because we have some team speed,” Brandon Hyde said after the game. “For him to be able to force a throw there, we’ve done it a lot this year. Mateo’s speed is off the charts, obviously, and it was a huge play.”

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With much to gain in Toronto, Mountcastle won't leave O's shorthanded

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TORONTO - Much like the American League wild card standings entering Monday night, the glove on Ryan Mountcastle’s left hand tonight will be tight. Perhaps uncomfortably so.

But with so much riding on the Orioles’ three-game series in Toronto, the 25-year-old will “jam” the mitt on and get back on the field. 

The Orioles kept Mountcastle out of Sunday’s lineup in St. Petersburg, Fla., opting for fellow righty Tyler Nevin. The day off made a massive difference, said Brandon Hyde.

“I think that the entire day (Sunday) of getting some rest on that hand was beneficial,” Hyde said in the visitors dugout before batting practice. “He spent the majority of the day getting treatment on it yesterday and then today as well. He responded pretty well and is feeling a lot better, so he’s back in there.”

Mountcastle was frustrated he had to miss the series finale against Tampa Bay. But with the Blue Jays in control of the top wild card berth and the Orioles just 1 ½ games out of the final spot, he’s playing through some pain in the hopes of helping the team gain some ground.

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Termarr Johnson if O’s draft him No. 1: “Baltimore gets a ring in a couple years”

Termarr Johnson Draft Combine

The Orioles will be picking first overall in the MLB Draft for the third time in the organization’s history on Sunday. One option with the No. 1 overall pick is Georgia high school infielder Termarr Johnson. 

“I don’t know too much about what’s gonna happen in the next couple days, but it’d mean a lot to me," Johnson said about the possibility of going No. 1. “Being selected with the Baltimore Orioles means that, you know, Baltimore gets a ring in a couple years.”

Johnson is rated as the No. 4 prospect in this year’s draft class, according to MLB Pipeline. Most scouts and draft experts rave about Johnson’s advanced bat for an 18-year-old, including Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo. 

“He’s easily the best high school hitter that I’ve seen,” Collazo said. “It’s a special, special bat.”

Baseball America ranked Johnson the No. 1 high school baseball player in the country last spring after he hit .417 with nine home runs, 23 stolen bases, eight doubles and five triples for Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta. 

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O's staying in games, thanks to great pitching, defense

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SEATTLE - With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Julio Rodríguez sent a scorcher back up the middle on a two-strike count. The ball ricocheted off pitcher Félix Bautista, and Ryan Mountcastle nearly made a great play to end the inning. 

Instead, the ball got away from Mountcastle, Rodríguez was safe at first, and Jesse Winker drove two runners home in the very next at-bat. Had Rodríguez’s flukey single been an out, the Orioles and Mariners would’ve been knotted at 0-0 entering the top of the ninth. 

Of course, you’re not going to win very many baseball games recording just one hit, which was all the O’s offense was able to muster last night. But the combination of Dean Kremer, Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista kept Baltimore firmly in the ballgame until the very end. 

“We’re pitching better, they’re keeping us in games. The starting pitching has done a great job,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Dean Kremer was incredible last night, Tyler Wells was awesome the day before … Our bullpen guys have done a great job of keeping the game right there.” 

You would have to go back to June 13, an 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays, to find a game in which the Orioles truly felt out of it. Every other game since then, a 14-game stretch, has either been a Baltimore victory or a loss in which the O’s fell by three runs or fewer. 

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O's look to stay hot with Wells, plus Rutschman's homecoming

GettyImages-1402356975 Tyler Wells in orange jersey

Visiting the Mariners on May 5, 2021, John Means threw nine hitless innings, striking out 12 in the process. 

“We were talking on the way here, last time we were here it was a pretty cool moment,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Great story, and a really, really special day.”

The O’s current starting staff does not include their ace, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April. 

Bruce Zimmermann isn’t in the rotation either. After posting a 2.72 ERA in his first seven starts of the season, the lefty is down in Triple-A Norfolk working on returning to that form. 

The O’s No. 10 prospect, Kyle Bradish, was placed on the 15-day injured list on Friday. Another option off the board. 

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Defense backs bullpen in impressive 2-1 win (updated)

Defense backs bullpen in impressive 2-1 win (updated)

There’s nothing dads love more than fundamentals. They preach it in Little League. They drill it on empty fields on Saturday afternoons. 

There were probably plenty of beaming fathers in the Baltimore area pointing at their televisions Sunday, turning to their sons or daughters, and saying, “See? Fundamentals.”

The Orioles (30-38) played a clean, fundamental game and turned several phenomenal defensive plays to help Brandon Hyde navigate an unwelcome bullpen game and beat the Rays 2-1 on Father’s Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

It started in the top of the second inning, when a picture-perfect relay from right fielder Ryan McKenna to second baseman Rougned Odor to catcher Adley Rutschman turned a Vidal Bruján single into an inning-ending tag play. The Orioles, already leading 1-0 on a first-inning home run by Anthony Santander, kept the Rays off the scoreboard.

It continued in the sixth, when Odor scooped a Taylor Walls grounder from the dirt and underhand lobbed it to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle to get Mike Baumann out of a jam. Another scoreless frame, and a 2-1 lead preserved.

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Lyles out with stomach virus, O's going with bullpen game

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The Orioles’ innings eater won’t be eating much today.

Jordan Lyles was scratched from his scheduled start against the Rays this afternoon due to a stomach virus, manager Brandon Hyde told the media before Sunday’s game. Reliever Austin Voth will start in Lyles’ stead, but isn’t expected to go more than a couple innings.

“We found out at about 7:30, 8 o’clock this morning,” said Hyde. “With the off-day tomorrow, that’s the one positive thing of this is that we do have a day off tomorrow, so I can use a lot of bullpen guys today and give them a day off tomorrow.”

Lyles hasn’t missed a turn in the rotation yet this season, making 13 starts and compiling a 5.10 ERA as Hyde’s veteran workhorse.

Voth, who was claimed off waivers from the Nationals on June 7, has pitched only 3 ⅓ innings with the Orioles, all in relief, surrendering two runs and striking out three. The 29-year-old righty started 22 games over five seasons in Washington.

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O's score 10, leave Kansas City with series split (updated)

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KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander rocked back on his left foot, pausing to admire his work.

When you hit a ball 455 feet into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium, you’re allowed a little time to bask.

Santander’s solo splashdown in the first inning of Sunday’s game was the first of three home runs for the Orioles and set the tone for the team’s marathon 10-7 win over the Royals (20-39).

The Orioles (26-35) hit 850 more feet worth of homers in the second, getting back-to-back shots from Ryan Mountcastle and Rougned Odor to open the inning and push the lead to 3-0. But the barrage didn’t end there, as the O’s scored two more in the inning on RBI singles from Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays off Kansas City starter Brad Keller.

“We swung the bat good all day," said manager Brandon Hyde after the win. "We had 15 hits, had really good at-bats, started early, which is great to see. We haven’t done that a ton.”

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Kyle Stowers to join Orioles taxi squad on road trip

hyde contemplating

KANSAS CITY - A shock of bright blonde hair shone in the Orioles clubhouse this morning. 

Kyle Stowers is hard to miss.

The Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, will join the taxi squad when the team heads north of the border to play the Blue Jays this week.

“He’s having a good year at Triple-A,” manager Brandon Hyde said in Kauffman Stadium’s away dugout before Sunday's game. “It’s a loose, left-handed swing. He’s got huge power. I like the way he plays defense, he can play three defensive spots in the outfield, left-handed bat."

A 2019 second-round pick out of Stanford University, Stowers is hitting .253 with 12 home runs and a .901 OPS in 49 games with Triple-A Norfolk this year. The 24-year-old led all Orioles minor leaguers with 27 homers in 2021.

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O's bats reheat in 6-4 win over Royals (updated)

McKenna Mullins Hays five orange away

KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander appeared almost reluctant to don the Orioles’ home run chain Friday night.

After sneaking a meaningless solo home run inside Kauffman Stadium’s right field foul pole in the ninth inning of an 8-1 loss, Santander accepted the plastic chain with all the gravitas of a weathered monarch.

Tyler Nevin showed no such hesitancy Saturday. In fact, he welcomed it, beckoning Austin Hays to bestow the chain upon him after crushing a three-run, go-ahead homer to dead center field in the sixth inning of a 6-4 win over the Royals.

The honor was richly deserved.

Nevin’s 425-foot longball gave the Orioles their first lead since the third inning of Thursday’s series opener. Before the homer, the O’s had been outscored 18-7 in the first two-and-a-half games of their four-game series in Kansas City. 

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Richie Martin back in bigs as Ramón Urías heads to IL

Ramon Urias throws black away

KANSAS CITY – One infielder to the injured list, another recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. 

Too many times in his young career, Richie Martin has been on the wrong end of these sort of transactions. 

Martin has missed significant time with injury since he was selected by the Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Rule 5 draft, including a fractured right wrist, a broken hamate bone in his left hand and a non-displaced left wrist fracture.

But in 2022, the 27-year-old has been both healthy and productive for Norfolk and has earned a call-up to the bigs as Ramón Urías heads to the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain, retroactive to Friday.

Martin will start at second base for the first time in his big league career Saturday afternoon against the Royals.

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Zimmermann struggles again, O's muster one run in loss (updated)

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KANSAS CITY - A light rain began to fall at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night as the bottom of the sixth inning got underway.

But the deluge had already transpired.

The Royals (20-37) poured runs on Bruce Zimmermann in the lefty’s most dismal outing in what has been a string of them. Zimmermann (2-5) allowed a career-high seven runs on 10 hits in just 4 2/3innings in an 8-1 loss in Kansas City.

The Orioles (24-35) have dropped the first two games of their four-game series, surrendering 15 runs in 18 innings.

Zimmermann’s rough night stood in stark contrast to that of Royals starter Jonathan Heasley (1-3), who allowed just one hit - an Anthony Santander single in the first inning - and no walks to go with seven strikeouts over seven innings of scoreless baseball. 

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Hyde hoping Zimmermann rediscovers changeup vs. Royals

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KANSAS CITY - For the first month of the season, Bruce Zimmermann was unstoppable, thanks to an unstoppable new changeup. 

Zimmermann’s ERA has gone from 2.72 on May 14 to 4.87 coming into Friday’s start. The last two starts have been particularly unkind, as the lefty has surrendered 11 combined earned runs over his last 9.2 innings. 

The changeup that fooled hitters for the first several starts isn’t nearly as effective. 

What changed?

“I’m not really sure,” manager Brandon Hyde said to the media gathered in the dugout at Kauffman Stadium. “To me, early in the year he was getting a lot of swing-and-miss on the changeup. In the dugout it has looked a little different his last few outings. Just not having the same kind of depth and swing-and-miss that he was getting on it with right-handed hitters. 

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Lyles halts O's momentum in 7-5 loss to Royals (updated)

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KANSAS CITY – With each swing, Carlos Santana was getting closer. A 277-foot flyout in the second inning, a 354-foot flyout in the third. 

Santana had seen 14 pitches from Jordan Lyles. None were sinkers. But the 15th was.

Lyles left a 90 mph sinker over the heart of the plate with one on and no out in the bottom of the fifth inning of Thursday’s game. Santana deposited it over the right-field wall for a two-run go-ahead shot. After the Orioles had battled back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game in the top half of the inning, the Royals reclaimed the lead, this time for good.

Kansas City (19-37) got the best of Lyles and Baltimore (24-34) in a 7-5 win in the series opener in front of 15,594 fans at Kauffman Stadium. 

"Just a front-hip sinker that I thought we could get one by him, get a quick punchout," said Lyles after the start. "But it started on the plate and covered way too much of the plate, and it was just a bad pitch."

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